Journal article

IGF-2 is a mediator of prolactin-induced morphogenesis in the breast

The mechanisms by which prolactin controls proliferation of mammary epithelial cells (MECs) and morphogenesis of the breast epithelium are poorly understood. We show that cyclin D1(-/-) MECs fail to proliferate in response to prolactin and identify IGF-2 as a downstream target of prolactin signaling that lies upstream of cyclin D1 transcription. Ectopic IGF-2 expression restores alveologenesis in prolactin receptor(-/-) epithelium. Alveologenesis is retarded in IGF-2-deficient MECs. IGF-2 and prolactin receptor mRNAs colocalize in the mammary epithelium. Prolactin induces IGF-2 mRNA and IGF-2 induces cyclin D1 protein in primary MECs. Thus, IGF-2 is a mediator of prolactin-induced alveologenesis; prolactin, IGF-2, and cyclin D1, all of which are overexpressed in breast cancers, are components of a developmental pathway in the mammary gland.


    Department of Surgical Oncology, Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA 02114, USA.


    Record created on 2008-01-24, modified on 2016-08-08


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